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What is the Wuxia Film Genre?

Chinese film genre Wuxia is a popular form of fiction. The term “Wuxia” actually means “martial heroes,” and films from this genre certainly deliver to the terminology. You might recall films from this genre which are represented by stories of swordsman’s adventures and martial arts from ancient China.  If you’re not sure what the Wuxia film genre stands for, perhaps you’ve never seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or the 1970s television series Kung Fu?

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What is Wuxia Film?

In film, Wuxia represents a genre of Chinese fiction that specifically relates to the chivalrous adventures of sword-wielding heroes.

Broken into two characters, Wu and Xia, many from the gaming community are familiar with wuxia, largely because of the contextual meaning of the term.

The first character, “Wu” meaning things related to martial arts, military, and war.

The second character, “xia” relating to the type of protagonist that is commonly found in these types of Chinese fiction stories and also being a synonym for chivalry. 

Definition of Xia

Many translations have been imposed for the word xia. Although few if any actually define it fully or properly.

The most frequently definitions include those which reference a knight, or a knight-like hero.

Rarely were xia soldiers, although they could be on occasion. They generally performed superior in personal combat and came from humble and aristocratic backgrounds. 

BBP FIlm Crew

Wu xia films date back to the early days of silent filmmaking in the 1920s. Early wuxia films that represent the Chinese fantasy genre were largely produced by Kung Hu and the Shaw Brothers Studio.

These films would feature a mix of advanced camera techniques that paired speed of movement. And capture along with sophisticated storylines.

That were very loosely adapted from previously written Chinese literature. Throughout these films, amazing choreography that incorporated acrobatics amidst trampolines formed the basis.

Upon which many of the scenes from early films would play out long before any technical advances existed on the set.


Subsequent Wuxia films would make their way into Hollywood throughout the years. With influences playing all the way into the 2000s.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from (2000) would be another major player in the industry.

Subsequently, Wuxia films such as The Forbidden Kingdom and several others would eventually make their way into theaters. 

Kung Fu Panda

Perhaps one of the most notable Wuxia films to make its way to US television was one that was never expected to have been noted by China to have been such as renowned contribution to the genre.

Kung Fu Panda a DreamWorks Animation was produced as a funny series that would help others to understand the genre.

But it was never meant to be viewed as a major player in the field of wuxia films. However, since Kung Fu Panda was introduced?

Several have noted the grand similarities and close representation of this particular film to the Chinese fantasy film genre sometimes referred to as Wuxia film.